The Super “Flower”
By Global Master Chef Karl Guggenmos, Senior Culinary Advisor, HMS
Join me on a trip back to my mother’s kitchen. One of the dishes we would make at home was a baked cauliflower dish. She would place the florets in a baking dish, add butter, herbs, grated swiss cheese, beaten eggs and maybe some rendered bacon bits and then bake the dish. I always enjoyed this dish as a stand alone meal, though some fresh baked pretzels were always a welcomed extra.What’s the big deal about cauliflower? It is a “super flower” with many health benefits. In today’s Kitchen Tip, let’s take a closer look at these benefits and a few ways to cook them.
The Health Benefits of Cauliflower
Though we generally think of cauliflower as a vegetable, it’s also an edible “flower” that packs a particularly great health punch. Cauliflower is part of the cruciferous vegetable group, along with broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale and cabbage.
It contains a host of vitamins, minerals and other substances that offer profound health benefits. They include:
- vitamin C
- vitamin K
- vitamin B6
These vitamins and minerals in cauliflower are believed to help fight cancer, inflammation, heart & brain disorders. Cauliflower is also thought to support good digestion, detoxification, weight loss and even eye health. In recent years, chefs and home cooks have incorporated cauliflower into their daily diet in an effort to eat healthier. In addition, chefs are choosing to use cauliflower as a substitute for less healthy ingredients in newly created dishes. For example, cauliflower is now a “substitute’ ingredient in the recipes for crusts and doughs of pizza, pretzels and gnocchi and mashed cauliflower is now a standard alternative to mashed potatoes. While these creative ideas are certainly tasty and more healthy, it is important to keep perspective.
The benefits of eating cauliflower in dough or in a mash are not necessarily the same as eating plain cauliflower. It really all depends on the other ingredients added to the dish that could counteract the benefits. For example, with pizza, be careful with adding too much fat, salt, carbs and meats for toppings.
I love making Cream of Cauliflower soup and use almond milk and cornstarch for thickener. I use the stems for making great stock and coconut oil instead of butter for making a roux.
I am also very fond of making cauliflower croquettes. First, I cook the cauliflower and puree it. Then I add an egg or egg substitute, seasonings and a thickener to form the croquettes. Instead of deep frying them, I spray them with a healthy oil and bake them in the oven.
A question that’s often asked about any healthy food is: are there problems if I eat too much of it? Well anything that is over consumed has potential negative effects. Though eating more vegetables is a good thing, the golden rule, as always, is moderation.
In the case of cauliflower, when eating a lot every day, it is believed to interfere with iodine absorption, which is not so good if you are pregnant. It is also thought to lower blood sugar, and some suggest cauliflower could cause kidney stones. In my opinion, the benefits far outweigh the negatives if consumed in moderation. So go ahead and enjoy.